Sunday, March 22, 2009

status update: "socially awkward"

i have been socially awkward for most of my life. my parents* started me in 1st grade one year early, believing that they'd seen some genius in me or that some groovy 1960's theory on education held some actual merit.

as it turned out, i was paranoid from day one: it was clear that relationships had been formed. earlier. pre-dating my entrance. nevertheless, i made my mark; i was "notable" for a few things:

1.) i got a role as an angel in our school's Christmas tableau. i was hung from the ceiling, laid on my tummy in a wooden box that had puffy "clouds" glued to its sides, and i watched, hands folded into tiny praying cages, full of hope for what my performance might mean for Peace on Earth and whatnot ..., and

2.) i pooped my pants during naptime. my teacher had been standing just outside of the classroom, talking to another teacher, and we were supposed to ask before we left the room, and i, being so "good" and so eager to do things right (especially given that i was so *clearly* out of place), sat with knees bent, bouncing up and down on the heel of one foot that was crossed over the other. i waited until my teacher entered the room to ask if i could go, scary-oblivious to the fact that i'd already "gone." when i returned, she was spraying lysol around my nap area, and it was clear that everybody knew.

make of the above what you will, but i can't help going there as i reflect upon recent experiences in social networking via Twitter and Facebook. yes, i came to it very late (just as my latecomer status re: blogging has marked me in less-than-ideally positive ways). you see, just as i was about to post that "i am having pizza for breakfast" (who cares?!), i was also reflecting upon how offended i'd been over a question that appeared in a presumably inoffensive meme in which i'd been tagged to participate. it's nothing really ... who doesn't want to talk about their children? i get that. but so the question, "Do you have children?" just sent me off. because no. i don't. and it's very sad for me. and no one needs to know that. and i could have avoided answering, but the question represented the move that signaled my need to leave. retreat. stop pretending to be participating in a carefree and totally-normal-human-social-participatory-way when i am (as in the above anecdote):

a.) not ready,

b.) too serious (i "read too much into things," as my students often tell me), or

c.) just plain "socially awkward" (and thus, a & b obtain, b being, however, less necessary and more of an occasional tendency).

i have almost left FB and Twitter several times. but there was this one notably positive exchange in FB that has kept me hanging in there. it was late at night ... i was lonely and feeling pretty badly about my life, my career, and etc. , etc. (achh! who cares?!). but so *one* of my many "friends" IM'd to see if i was actually okay. and i wasn't, but he helped. and it helped, the whole exchange. and i'm grateful for it. but i'm not sure it's enough. because on the whole i spend entirely too much time worrying how one tiny status update may offend or be taken in ways i did not intend or otherwise get me into trouble (recently, one has done all of these things). and don't tell me "you're a rhetorician" as if this means that i am immune to making mistakes because clearly i am not (hint: no one is). and apologies may mean nothing once it's out there (apparently). and the retracting and revising and recontextualizing and all-around worrisome nature of sharing tiny blips of Serious Life Information ... it's just plain freaking me out. and now, you may tell me to chill. fine. it's fine. i'll try.

* nb, i am not blaming my parents for my social awkwardness. just associating, and that's what i came up with. they meant well.


Gregory said...

I was just admiring your pacing and pauses with several rhythmic short sentences and then a nice longer, airier one.

Pleasurable. Thanks!

bonnie lenore kyburz said...

thanks, Gregory, for your kind thoughts. good luck at TT ;)

Amber :) said...

Hi Bonnie...

My name is Amber, i'm a senior in high school and I'm sorry to hear about your 'social awkwardness'. Unfortunately, I can relate all too well. I have trouble making friends, and being social; especially around large groups of people and even around family, Just recently I began to wonder if, perhaps, it was no one's fault at all that I was the way that I am.
I've started seeing a therapist for S.A.D. (social anxiety disorder) and I just wanted to put the possibility that you may be able to battle whatever awkwardness you may feel. I've had no noticable changes just yet (3months of therapy), but it feels a lot better to know that how I feel isn't of my doing, and that it may not be permanent.

I wish you luck, and love.

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